March 14th is World Pi Day, the celebration of the mathematical constant: 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288. The number doesn't end there, that's why it's called a constant. It goes on and on with no repeats and no sequences. The best time of day to celebrate is 1:59, which would be March 14th, 1:59 or 3.14159. This number has been known and used throughout history by the Egyptians and Babylonians, but no one knows its origin.
Measurements of Pi
When you divide a circle's circumference by its diameter, you get the number that is represented by the Greek letter pi. The Holy Bible makes reference in I Kings 7: 23 and II Chronicles 4:2 that the Babylonians measured the area of a circle by using a ratio of 3:1. Ancient Egyptians ruled that pi was approximately 3.1605. Later in Ancient Greece, renowned mathematician and inventor Archimedes proclaimed the closest approximation of pi.
Pi Record Breakers
In January of 2007, 40-year-old Marck Umile became the first North American record-holder for memorizing pi to the 12,887th digit. The current world record leader is Chao Lu of China. He recited 67,890 decimal places in November of 2005. For more pi record breakers around the world visit: http://www.pi-world-ranking-list.com/index.html.
Pi in Music
Many experimentalists have converted the numbers of pi into music. Sounds interesting, doesn't it? Here's how you can do it: Select ten notes. The first note is the number 1. The second note is the number 2, and so on. Look at the numbers of pi. Play the notes. Don't have a keyboard? Let your computer do it for you: http://www.avoision.com/experiments/pi10k/pi10k.html.
Singer-songwriter Kate Bush wrote a song called "Pi," where she recites the number up to the 53rd decimal place during the chorus. She also messes up on the numbers.
Ways to Celebrate Pi Day
You can celebrate Pi Day in your own way. Find your birthday in pi on this website: http://www.facade.com/legacy/amiinpi/?thenum=1203. Eat some pie by baking a pie or treating yourself to a store bought pie. Learn about Albert Einstein. March 14 is his birthday. Memorize as many of the numbers as you can. Impress your friends. Make a tee-shirt with the Greek Symbol of pi on the front. On the back, write as many numbers as you can. Wear this around your town, as someone will surely say something about it. Watch the movie "Pi." Send an e-card: http://www.123greetings.com/events/pi_day/
Ideas for Teachers
So what can you do if you are a math teacher looking to engage your students in learning about pi? Math Forum has some activities for you: http://mathforum.org/t2t/faq/faq.pi.html. So what are you waiting for? Have fun and Happy Pi Day!